The
present study is designed to identify and characterize the E.coli phylo-groups in free ranging and captive populations of
Bonnet Macaque (Macaca radiata) in
Kerala. Escherichia coli is a gram
negative, facultatively anaerobic, rod-shaped, coliform bacterium that is
commonly found in the lower intestine of endotherms. E. coli is expelled into the environment through faecal matter. E. coli and other facultative anaerobes
constitute about 0.1% of gut flora, and faecal–oral route is the major mode
through which transmission of  pathogenic
strains occurs. As cells are able to survive outside the body for a limited
amount of time, they are potential indicator organisms to test environmental
samples for faecal contamination (Feng et.al,
2002). Though E. coli is often
considered harmless, they encompasses a huge population of bacteria that
exhibit both genetic and phenotypic diversity. Genome sequencing of a large
number of isolates of E. coli and
related bacteria shows that a taxonomic reclassification would be desirable
(Alm et.al, 2011). However, this has
not been done, largely due to its medical importance and E. coli remains one of the most diverse bacterial species: only 20%
of the genes in a typical E. coli
genome is shared among all strains (Chaudhuri and Henderson, 2012). E.coli is characterized by wide and extensive genetic
substructures, which resulted in the classification of this species into 8
different phylo-groups viz., A, B1, B2, C, D, E, F and Escherichia cryptic clade1 (Clermout et.al, 2012). Although, there is a possibility for potential cross
species transmission of these common intestinal microbes, E.coli in wild animals, especially in macaques has not been
characterized in India. The extended quadruplex PCR phylo-group assignment
method developed by Clermont et.al
(2012) appears to offer significant advantages over the more traditional
triplex PCR method for identifying and categorizing E.coli phylo-groups. The present study focuses on the
identification and characterization of E.coli
phylo-groups in captive and free ranging populations of Bonnet macaques in
human dominated landscapes of Kerala. The study also sheds light into the fact
that several pathogenic bacterial strains could be introduced to wild animals
through human contact.